Performance Management

In addition to the HR contact information on the right, you can submit general HR & AHR questions to the HR Help Queue.

Performance management is the systematic process that a manager applies to involve employees in accomplishing a unit’s mission and goals, improving overall unit effectiveness, and helping employees understand the importance of their contributions. Effective performance management requires that the manager:

  • Identify the job duties that each employee is expected to accomplish.
  • Communicate the competencies (job knowledge and job skills) necessary to be successful in a position.
  • Ensure that employees have the required competencies, or that there is a process and plan by which they can acquire them.
  • Provide timely feedback on how effectively employees are applying job knowledge and skills to achieve the goals established for their position.
  • Reward effective performance.

In the event that performance does not meet established requirements, the manager must understand the corrective processes and methods that can help improve employee performance. In the College of Engineering, a manager may supervise professional staff, classified staff covered by one or more collective bargaining agreements, classified staff covered by civil service rules, and temporary employees. While performance management principles are the same for all employees, the manager needs to be familiar with the performance requirements that apply to the employment programs.


Ensure each employee has an up-to-date job description. Employees should have an opportunity to review their job description and obtain clarification on any elements they may not understand.

Develop a list of competencies for each position. If you find that some employees do not possess all of the competencies their positions require, develop training goals so that the desired level of competency can be achieved.

Decide how you can most effectively assess and provide feedback about performance. Be sure your employees understand the measures and/or methods you use to determine how well they are achieving the goals established for them.

Provide Feedback

It is important that feedback be timely. Acknowledge really good work just as readily as you would address work that needs improvement. It can be easy to take good performance for granted and only point out problems. Employees appreciate balance, honesty, and fairness.

At least annually, comprehensively review your employees’ performance. An annual review is an opportunity to accomplish the following:

  1. Sum up an overall assessment of how work has gone over the previous year.
  2. Identify goals that have been met and those where additional effort may be required.
  3. Determine whether the employee’s job description and competencies accurately reflect the reality of the position, and make updates as necessary.
  4. Identify performance, achievement and/or development goals for the upcoming year.
  5. Make sure that the employee has an opportunity to provide input before the review is finalized.

The annual review should be finalized, then reviewed and signed by the employee. The format of the review and its level of detail depend on the nature of the employee’s position and the employment program.

Performance Management Process Summary

Process Evaluation Time Frame Form
Contract Classified Staff See performance evaluation in the appropriate UW labor contract. At least annually See performance evaluation in the appropriate UW labor contract.

(optional form - can be used consistent with contract and unit requirements)
Classified Non-Union Staff See Manager's Guide for Classified Non-Union Staff.

See Performance Management Policy for Classified Non-Union Staff.
At least annually Performance and Development Plan

Professional Staff See Professional Staff Program. At least annually

A current performance evaluation (completed within the previous 12 months) is required to support recommendations for merit salary adjustments and in-grade or grade change salary increases.
Performance Review

Conversational Approach
Structured Approach

Performance Feedback
Professional Staff - Dean’s direct reports At least annually Dean's template (may be adapted by other Prof. Staff)

Unsatisfactory Performance

If an employee’s job performance is not satisfactory and normal coaching, counseling and training have not brought performance to an acceptable level, corrective action may be necessary. Classified non-union staff, contract classified staff, and professional staff employment programs each have their own processes and requirements, with which you should be familiar before initiating corrective action.


Contact the HR staff listed at right for advice in your implementation of performance management practices or if you believe that some form of corrective action may be appropriate.

Learn more about performance management from Professional & Organizational Development (POD):

The employee assistance program, UW CareLink, offers support for employees having personal concerns that may be affecting job performance.

The UW Service Recognition Program helps honor excellent job performance by staff.